Diving into “swimming” hair care
I’ve been the big bad wolf lately. I didn’t want to be, I never asked to be. I had the best of intentions but, I just sort of ended up here. And it’s all because of one little question:
How long do I have to wait to go swimming after I color my hair??
::cue the horror movie terror music::
I don’t make the rules. I’m not telling you what to do with your life. You have to make those choices for yourself. Buuuut, you guys come to me for answers so I have to give them to you. So, let’s make a deal, ok? I’ll give you the facts and you can choose what is best for you given all the information, k?
Here goes..... you may want to sit down for this....
Swimming in chlorinated pools is never going to be good for your hair.
I’ll give you a minute........
Chlorine is added to water (even the water that we drink) in order to kill germs and bacteria. The levels used in pools are so high that it can cause damage to you hair, skin, nails, and eyes. It slowly starts to damage these cells keeping us safe from sickness from the water but taking a toll on our hair. The chemical reaction between chlorine and copper in the water causes the hair to turn green as well. This is even more so a problem for porous or color treated and otherwise chemically treated hair due to the compromised cuticle. This hair acts like a sponge for all of these things. Add in sunlight as a factor and there are so many odds stacked against your hair that it stands no chance against the elements. One more bad news element. Salt water is not exempt from this. Salts can be abrasive to the hair and cause the hair to become very brittle.
So is there anything that we can do to still enjoy swimming and our hair? Sure! Lets talk about it.
First thing is first, at all costs, LIMIT your hairs exposure to chlorine, salt water and sun light! I'm not the bad guy for saying this! You're reading this right now because you care about the condition of your hair. I'm just dishing this out because the looks of disappointment are directed at me when I have to tell people that I can't guarantee their color results or even perform the services that they want. I see your heart breaks when the only thing left to do is cut your hair. But I want you to be happy, I want you to love your hair. I want you to have your cake and eat it too. But without limitations and protecting your hair, there is just not a way.
I didn't do it, blame the pool guy!
But if you are going to do it anyway, you need to have a game plan. The more things that you do on this list, the better your hair condition (and therefore color) can stand up to the sun and surf.
1. Always rinse your hair with cold water before entering water. Cold water helps to lay down the cuticle and if your strands are already full of water then less water and harmful chemicals can be absorbed.
2. Coat your hair with conditioner. It can be a leave in or your regular in shower conditioner. This will act as a layer of protection as well as helping to seal the cuticle and again if your hair has already absorbed liquids then, less of the harmful elements can be absorbed.
3. Do not allow your hair to dry with chlorinated or salt water in it. Shampoo it immediately with a swimmers shampoo regimen. The absolute best product on the market for that is Malibu C's swimmers wellness line. This company knows water and is the best at tackling all the issues that water creates in our hair! Using this system will not only lift out harmful chemicals and minerals but protect against UV rays and further damage from these elements. Your best bet if you know that you're going to be swimming in chlorine is to just go ahead and keep this line in stock and on rotation. It will result in hair that still has movement and shine and remove the green from oxidized copper in the hair.
4. Pre-schedule in salon conditioning treatments (and toners) to restore your hair. This recommendation is on a case by case basis as to what exactly you will need during these appointments. You may just be lacking moisture so a deep moisture treatment might do the trick. But most likely, especially for color treated hair, I would recommend an Olaplex stand alone treatment, B3 demi permanent conditioner or even a Brazillian Blowout (ask about Cliove or Natulique keratin smoothing treatments for cleaner options) when your swimming season is over.
All in all, I hope that this has been helpful advice that helps you adapt your hair care to your lifestyle and to choose what is worth the risk for YOU. It's your life make the most of it! and if pretty healthy hair is a part of those priorities then hopefully you feel more equipped now.